Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Blooming Witch Hazel

It's snowing outside.  If 2010 brings familiar seasons, we won't see spring for a couple more months, and most of the garden sleeps.  Yet, tucked back into the understory there now occurs an elegant bloom.  Jelena (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'), a Witch Hazel with coppery-red twisted, papery flowers, is awake.  You can smell the crisp, spicy scent before you see the lady herself.  Witch Hazels rely heavily on scent to attract the few pollinators that are about this time of year.  They're small of stature (10-15' tall x wide) and grow with an open habit.  The crinkled, papery leaves turn a brilliant orange-scarlet in Fall.  Organic gardeners will appreciate their relative lack of pests and diseases.  The ladies are tolerant of full sun, but if you can provide a half day (of dappled or direct), you'll find they make an excellent addition to the small urban garden, and to organic gardens of all sizes.     

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